Gold Sparkle Band Fugues & Flowers

Gold Sparkle Band is a quartet that comes on like an orchestra. From the opening shot of "Zodiac Attack," it's evident that these players are bold and confident enough to invade territory held by Ornette Coleman, Ken Vandermark and even the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Like their contemporaries Vandermark 5, GSB have an affinity for taking structural elements of '60s and '70s jazz and pushing them further along the path. Charles Waters, the reed player and chief composer, has an eerie talent for choices in tone, tempo and volume, which makes the lengthiest of pieces iridescent. Trumpeter Roger Ruzow is his able partner, and/or foil, in melody and chaos, and the rhythm section of Andrew Barker and Adam Roberts share an affinity for knowing when to wait; when a light touch is stronger and when to just go for it. Their take on William Parker's "Holiday for Flowers" shows a slightly drunken tenderness that segues nicely in their sprawling tribute to Detroit, "Motor City Fugue," which quotes the head from "Zodiac Attack." Captured live (as good jazz should be) in 2000, this album bolsters faith in adventurous and enjoyable modern jazz. (Squealer)